Grave Consequences by Ivy Asher

1





A whimper escapes my lips and consciousness rubs against me like a purring cat. I try to bat it away. Fucking needy pussy. I already have one of those, I don’t need another. I try to fall back into the decadent darkness, but awareness butts up against me, refusing to be ignored. Which sucks because everything hurts and I have no idea what’s going on.

Grumpily accepting that oblivion is now out of reach, I slowly blink open my eyes. Did I forget to close my curtains? I squint against the bright white light surrounding me and let out a groan. Damn, did the sun go supernova or something? It’s bright as hell today.

I try to push up from my bed, only to quickly realize that the hard surface I’m lying on is not the semi-comfortable mattress I’m used to. Shit, did I hook up with someone last night? My brain is foggy, and my body is sore. Not the just had amazing sex kind of sore that would make sense given my unfamiliar and bright surroundings, but more akin to just survived a beating kind of sore.

I groan as I get up from the pure white surface underneath me and look around to figure out where I am. My eyes keep stinging from the overwhelming radiance in the room, and I have to swipe at them to get the tears away. There’s nothing but bright white and nothingness as far as the eye can see, and unease fizzes in my stomach like carbonation in a fresh beer.

Where the hell am I?

The question bounces around my perplexed mind like it’s looking for a soft place to land. But instead of breaking things to me gently, the answers come pouring into me like boiling water, painfully scorching my insides all at once.

Jerif.

His name punches me mercilessly in the face, and then I take another hit and another as my thoughts recall Echo, Crux, and Iceman.

Anguish roosts in my chest, and a pained sob crawls out of my shocked mouth. I lost them. One minute they were there, and then the next, Hell exploded around me, swarming with demons, and then I...I...

I look around frantically, trying to understand what’s going on. I fell through the Nihil gate...didn’t I?

My sterile whitewashed surroundings aren’t helping me make sense of anything. Did I die? Did I think I was falling through the portal into the Center Ring of Hell, when really, I was just dying? Maybe this is what happens when you try to go into Nihil when you don’t belong. You just become nothing?

Another sob wants to break away from my throat as I try to straighten up on shaky legs. I turn in a circle, but only whiteness surrounds me with no end.

Can a demon go to Heaven? Is this some in-between place that no one thought to tell me about?

“Jerif?” I call out, the fear-laced yell racing away from me and quickly getting lost in the nothingness all around.

“Iceman?” I try instead, but I’m met with only silence.

If they died, wouldn’t they be in this in-between place too? My voice takes on a shrill, desperate note.

“Crux...Echo!”

Nothing.

Tears drip down my cheeks as everything once again grows quiet around me. I’m alone. I don’t even bother to wipe the watery tracks from my face. Iceman said they’d have my back...always. But they aren’t here. They slipped right through my fingers, and it’s all my fault. If I hadn’t been such a coward, if I had figured things out sooner, I might not be here. This is the consequence for my inaction. For my unwillingness to step up to the plate.

The memories of the last time I saw each of them, fighting for their lives against hundreds of demons at once, makes my entire body shake with sorrow-sodden anguish. I feel damp with it, all the way down to my marrow. Like I was caught in a terrible rainstorm, my body soaking wet and trembling, unable to escape the onslaught.

My knees give out as I’m pelted with emotion, and I look around one last time before letting my body slump down onto the cool milky floor. Tears drip from my cheeks and pool on the smooth ground, and I know without a shadow of doubt that I’m not in Heaven. This has to be Hell, and I’m being punished. Why else would I remember all these terrible things? Isn’t there supposed to be no pain in Heaven?

I don’t know how long I lie there and let desolation leak out of me onto the pristine floor. I curl up into a pathetic ball and mourn the loss of what I could have had if I had just pulled my head out of my ass sooner.

Those four demons...they meant something to me. More than friendship. In such a short time, they somehow became cornerstones to my life. I feel their loss in every pore, crack, and crevice of my body.

I lie here, cursing fate for being so cruel and bringing me so low. I don’t know why the world hates me so much. It constantly takes every good thing from me, and I wish I knew what I did to deserve it. I wish I knew what I could do to make it stop.